Travel News Asia / ASIA Travel Tips.com
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SORA, a Japanese gourmet food hall, opened its doors at Changi Airport Terminal 2 today.
The 7,760 sq ft space, which seats about 300 diners, is the largest restaurant across the four terminals in Changi Airport.
SORA is located at the public area on Level 3 and houses six Japanese restaurant brands that serve up an assortment of Japanese food including ramen, sashimi, okonomiyaki and Nippon-inspired desserts and beverages.
SORA, which translates to #sky' in Japanese, marks the first time that ANA Trading - the trading arm of Japanese airline company, All Nippon Airways, is operating a food hall outside of Japan.
Kazuhiro Nakao, Project Director, Retail Business Development of ANA Trading and Director of SG Retail Partners Pte. Ltd. said, “This is part of the company's strategy to expand its business and reach in the South East Asia region. Our very first retail project was Eat At Seven at Suntec City. Following the success of the Japanese dining concept, we are excited to launch Japan Gourmet Hall SORA at one of the best airports in the world.”
James Fong, Vice President of Landside Concessions at Changi Airport Group (CAG), said, "CAG is always on the lookout for innovative and new dining concepts to excite passengers and visitors of Changi Airport. Combining two concessions into one provides a much larger space for the tenant to present their unique dining concept and food offerings through a restaurants-within-a restaurant setting. We are pleased that ANA Trading has chosen Changi Airport as the world's first airport outside Japan to launch SORA, bringing together the best of Japanese cuisine, ambience and service.”
Of the six restaurants in SORA, two of them are new-to-market brands: Tsuruhashi Fugetsu and Japoli Kitchen.
Making its overseas debut in Singapore, Tsuruhashi Fugetsu is a renowned okonomiyaki chain that hails from Osaka. Available from $13 onwards, its signature Japanese savoury pancakes are made with fresh cabbage, yakisoba (fried noodles) and an assortment of battered meat and seafood, before being grilled a la minute and slathered in Worcestershire sauce and mayonnaise and topped with bonito flakes.
Diners who enjoy fusion cuisine will feel right at home at Japoli Kitchen, which offers Italian dishes infused with Japanese touches from $10.80. Menu highlights include Bolognese Pasta and Porcini Risotto. Its range of freshly-made pizzas, which includes Pizza Margherita and Mentaiko Pizza. The brand uses fresh pasta and flour specially imported from Japan.
Rounding up the dining offerings at SORA are other Japanese restaurants such as Menya Takeichi, which is lauded as one of Tokyo's top chicken ramen chains and its collagen-rich Chicken Paitan broth ramen dishes are available from $13.90. This is the brand's 100th outlet worldwide.
Kuro Maguro, which is started by the number one Japanese fish wholesaler, is offering meshi (rice dishes) with kaisen (seafood) and torobutsu (tuna) that are air-flown daily from Japan. Prices start from $18.
Those who love tendon should make a beeline at Tendon Kohaku, which specialises in Edomae-style tendon, in which Hokkaido rice is adorned with crisp tempura that are drizzled in tendonsauce. Its first outlet in Eat at Seven, Suntec has drawn long queues everyday since it opened. Prices start from $16.60.
Adding a touch of Korean flavours to the culinary delights is Tokyo Sundubu, Japan's largest restaurant chain that serves the hearty Korean stew rich in collagen. Sundubu Jjigae is a treasure trove of hand-made tofu, vegetables and ingredients such as chicken, beef, asari (sake-steamed) clams and shrimps, available from $15.
Get tipple-happy at SORA Bar, which offers desserts and beverages to wash the food down. On the menu are desserts such as Hokkaido milk ice cream, sake and cocktails such as Singapore Sling and Mojito.
Diners can order food from any of the restaurants and bar and sit at the shared seating area in the middle of the food hall. Modelled after airline lounges, Japan Gourmet Hall SORA boasts comfy booth and tatami seating options. For tatami seating, diners can immerse in Japanese dining etiquette by taking off their shoes before dining – just like what they would do before entering a zashiki or tatami room.
The seating options also come with nifty features such as tables fitted with charging points for mobile electronic devices and an interactive Kid's Corner complete with a playground and a television screen.
“We are also exploring collaborations with leading Japanese technology companies to introduce cutting-edge technology features at SORA in the near future to create unique and memorable experiences for the customers. For instance, Virtual Reality contents are being considered for future business expansion, allowing diners to enjoy the magnificent scenery of Japan landscape while dining at the food hall,” Nakao said.
SORA is open from 10.30am to 11pm daily.